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Mar 18, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; New York Mets catcher Travis d

Don't Forget About Travis d'Arnaud

Before he was acquired by the Mets as part of the R.A. Dickey trade, it was reported all over the place that the Blue Jays wouldn’t part with Travis d’Arnaud in any deal for the Cy Young award winning knuckleballer.  When d’Arnaud showed up in Port St. Lucie this spring, he impressed everyone, tearing the cover off the ball at times and playing solid defense behind the dish.  He was then sent to AAA Las Vegas to start the year, with the expectation that he would join the big league club sooner rather than later.

While behind the plate in Las Vegas in the middle of April, a foul ball struck d’Arnaud in the left foot, and he suffered a non-displaced fracture to his first metatarsal.  The injury was freakish in nature and didn’t require surgery.  d’Arnaud has been in a walking boot since the injury, and the expectation is that he’ll be cleared to remove the boot and begin rehab after he meets with team doctors this coming Monday.

If  d’Arnaud is cleared to start rehab on Monday (June 3rd), he would likely return to game action around July 1st.  With John Buck having come back to Earth after his unexpected torrid start to the season, d’Arnaud should be promoted to the majors as soon as he is both healthy and shakes off the rust.  d’Arnaud was set to be called up by the Blue Jays in the middle of last season because he had been deemed ready for the majors.  It was then, that he injured his knee sliding into second base (the injury did not require surgery).  If d’Arnaud was ready for the majors during the middle of last season, he’s certainly ready for the majors now, which is why I found the following statement from Adam Rubin of ESPN odd:

At this point, d’Arnaud may be little more than a September call-up. It would probably take him a month or more to get into game-playing shape once he is cleared for activity. And he still needs minor league seasoning. Because of a knee injury last year and this season’s broken foot, d’Arnaud has been limited to 79 total games at the Triple-A level — just more than half a season.

Rubin is great at what he does, but I have to respectfully disagree with him here.  Again, d’Arnaud was set to be called up during the middle of last season by Toronto before he injured his knee.  Before the trade, the Blue Jays were expected to have d’Arnaud on their opening day roster.  His injury this season wasn’t a continuation of a trend, it was an unlucky break that could’ve happened to anyone.  Unless d’Arnaud’s rehab moves at a snail’s pace, there’s absolutely no reason to believe his arrival in Queens would be delayed until September.

Rubin claims that d’Arnaud needs more seasoning in the minors, but the decision makers don’t think that’s the case.  Sandy Alderson stated before the season that if John Buck had gotten hurt, d’Arnaud would’ve been called up immediately.  Clearly, Alderson thought d’Arnaud was ready for the majors before this season.  A freak injury doesn’t make d’Arnaud any less ready than he was at the end of March, it simply means that he has to get healthy before he can contribute at the major league level.

Here’s some information on the recovery time for acute metatarsal fractures, which is what d’Arnaud experienced:

Some fractures just need support to help healing. For example, a supportive tubigrip-type dressing with a supportive, rigid shoe or boot. Progressive weight-bearing on the foot can then follow as pain allows. Other fractures may need treatment with a below-the-knee plaster cast…Metatarsal fractures generally take around six to eight weeks to heal. However, it may be longer than this before a sportsperson is fully back in action.

d’Arnaud’s injury occurred on April 17th, and he should be cleared to resume full weight bearing activity on June 3rd (approximately six weeks after he got hurt).  As is noted above, he’ll need time to rehab the foot and get in game playing shape.  Once he does, it should only be a matter of time before he’s called up to the big leagues.

Assuming d’Arnaud’s rehab goes as expected and he returns to minor league games in early July, I see absolutely no reason why the Mets would have him toil in the minors for nearly two months before calling him up.  The Mets believe that he’s ready for the majors, he’s seen as their catcher of the future, and he’s best suited working with the pitchers he’ll be calling games for in the years to come.  If he’s healthy, leaving d’Arnaud in AAA until September would be foolish in terms of his development, and wouldn’t be in the Mets’ best interests.  Once d’Arnaud is healthy and rust free (presumably sometime around the mid-July All-Star break), he should be in Flushing.

 

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